While you’re likely reading this on your personal computer, enjoying reliable and fast internet, millions of people around the world still lack private access to this increasingly necessary resource to function and prosper in today’s world. How do those people connect to digital society? For many, digital inclusion is found at a library, a telecenter, or a cybercafé – their local public access ICT venue. For over a decade, significant investments have been made in these venues. However, their ability to contribute to development outcomes has come into question in recent times, spurred by the spread of mobile phones and other new technologies and applications. The Global Impact Study was designed to advance knowledge in this field by generating evidence about the scale, character, and impacts of public access ICTs.
Today, we are excited to announce the release of the study’s final report, Connecting people for development: Why public access ICTs matter.
The report is the most comprehensive study of its kind to date, based on thousands of surveys, interviews, and other data collected across eight low and middle income countries. Situating public access in the context of national development, Connecting people for development summarizes the study’s key findings, discusses some disputed issues, and offers recommendations for policymakers, public access practitioners, and researchers.
In addition to the final research report, we also invite you to explore additional resources generated by the Global Impact Study’s open research approach. All of the survey materials and data are available for public use, and full research reports and summaries of each the in-depth studies, focused on specific questions surrounding public access, are being released over the next couple of months.
We look forward to your feedback on the report and findings, and invite you to join a discussion on the future of public access ICTs.